North Korea suspends plans to increase military pressure against South

The decision comes after a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the central military commission on Tuesday, which “assessed the prevailing situation,” according to the Korean news agency (KCNA) of the North Korean media.

Possible military plans included the deployment of units from the North in the tourist area of ​​Mount Kumgang and the Kaesong Industrial Zone, which borders the South, and the establishment of police posts that had previously been removed from the demilitarized zone (DMZ). between the two countries “to strengthen policing the front line,” according to previous reports at KCNA.

No reason was given for the apparent pullback.

The North had signaled its initial plans to increase military pressure after a group of defectors in the South used balloons to send anti-North Korean leaflets to the north of the DMZ.

North Korea claimed that the brochures violated the agreement that Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in reached in 2018 at their first summit, when both leaders agreed to cease “all hostile acts and eliminate their means, including the broadcast over speakers and leaflet distribution “along their shared border

On Monday night, a group of deserters in South Korea sent another 500,000 brochures on “the truth of the Korean War” to the North.

The group said it also sent 500 brochures on “Successful South Korea,” 2,000 US dollar bills and 1,000 SD cards, using the 20 balloons.

In retaliation for the initial drop of the brochure, North Korea cut communication lines with the South and exploited the joint liaison office, which is located in the city of Kaesong, just north of the DMZ.

Although the office had been closed due to coronaviruses and South Korean staff had not been in the building since then, the destruction was symbolic as the office was intended to facilitate dialogue between the two countries.

In addition to threatening to increase military pressure, the Korean People’s Army reinstalled loudspeakers at the border and indicated that it would launch a propaganda campaign of its own by sending millions of leaflets south.

Chaos in Koreas sees Kim Jong Un's sister emerge stronger than ever

While the North has framed its actions in recent weeks in retaliation, Pyongyang has expressed discontent for months that its diplomacy with South Korea and the United States has not eased sanctions that paralyze North Korea’s economy.

The talks between countries had stalled in the months after three inter-Korean summits in 2018. And experts say North Korea may be using the current standoff to fabricate a crisis in order to gain influence in any future negotiations, a move he has previously used in diplomatic talks

CNN’s Yoonjung Seo, Jake Kwon and Joshua Berlinger contributed reports.